Throwback Thursday: Fuck That Comic

Throwback Thursday posts are posts I have previously written on other sites, such as Livejournal, Science Based Sex, Queereka, Skepchick, or Skeptability. They are reposted here sometimes on Thursdays when I think they are applicable to current events. This post was originally posted on Queereka on August 5th, 2013.

Parade

This comic has been turning up on my Facebook page lately, generally by well meaning straight people. I’ve seen it about a half dozen times already. Each time I get a little more angry. Why does this comic piss me off? It’s a celebration of marriage equality, right?

Well, there are a couple of problems with it and I think those problems are pretty important. First of all, it is a straight couple declaring that this “parade” of newly-wed couples are the best. Straight people do not get to declare what is or is not great for queer people. It is not up to them. It is great to be in favor of equality. I certainly am happy to see straight people celebrating with us as new areas become more just and offer equal rights to same-sex couples. But, and this is important, straight people don’t get to decide what is best for us. That’s our choice.

The second problem, and as far as I am concerned the bigger one, is the idea that a parade of traditional looking marriages is somehow better than the diversity shown at pride parades. The assumption that the assimilation of queer culture into that of the heteronormative majority is a good thing is deeply offensive. No, this is not the best pride parade ever. The best pride parades certainly include those couples who choose to enter into a legal commitment to each other, but they also include a much more diverse spectrum of humanity. The best pride parades are loud, exuberant, and diverse. They do no go quietly off to houses with white picket fenses in pairs. They loudly declare us to be DIFFERENT and they celebrate that difference.

The best pride parades include polyamorous families. They are filled with drag queens in every imaginable color and more glitter than I knew existed. They prominently feature people of all genders in black leather pounding pavement with shiny boots. They play music in many languages and remind us that the queer community includes immigrants too. My favorite moments in pride parades show all of the ways that queer people make their differences public and visible, such as when I saw a woman in a wheelchair being pulled along by her human pony decked out in beautiful leather gear.

We should absolutely be proud of the progress being made on marriage equality. However, let’s not let the straight couple in that comic forget for one second that we’re bigger than that. Marriage is only one part of queer life and we are proud of ALL of them.

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Throwback Thursday: Fuck That Comic
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4 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Fuck That Comic

  1. 1

    How do you know it’s a straight couple!?

    You’re viewing it through heteronormative blinkers. It could be a trans woman with a cis woman, trans man with a cis man, etc.

    In fact, they might not be a couple at all. They might be a gay man and lesbian woman.

    Check your privilege! It’s disappointing to find this on a network committed to intersectionality.

  2. 3

    If you were seeing the comic in August 2013, originally published by the Star Tribune and drawn by its in-house cartoonist Steve Sack, it’s because Minnesota’s own marriage equality law became effective 1 August of that year.

    If you’re seeing it being passed around again now, as well, it’s largely because it’s the first-year anniversary for Obergefell v. Hodges (26 June) which neatly corresponds to Pride Month.

    I fail to see how celebrating a civil rights landmark that has tangible benefits for real people marginalizes or erases anyone, and I’m frankly offended by your attempt to erase LGBT Americans from their own history and to instead assign the victory to het people. I am equally unimpressed with the unsupported suggestion that some “choice” is being forced upon LGBT people because the law exists. No one has suggested that marriage is mandatory for anyone. No one has suggested that LGBT rights begin and end with marriage. Something being highlighted as worthy of note and celebration is not harmful. This is not a zero-sum game. Progress is always incremental.

    Finally, you’re projecting your own biases here. I don’t see cis people. I don’t see houses or white picket fences. I have no idea if anyone’s wearing leather. I couldn’t say, nor could you, that no one is polyamorous or asexual but, given that bigamy is illegal, I don’t know why you’d expect to see depicted newly-wedded threesomes and foursomes. I don’t know what music is playing. I don’t know what languages these people speak.

    And neither do you. And I don’t appreciate the racial fetishizing / Othering you’re doing here as a white person. Likewise, the suggestion that marriage is only for bougie, conformist squares is a laughably tacky, privileged point of view.

  3. 4

    *raises hand*

    I live in Minnesota. I saw the campaign for same-sex marriage up close. It was hugely “We are just like you” normative. That wasn’t an accident. It was a political strategy. Theses and dissertations have been written on this strategy. It’s not a secret.

    It was also a political strategy that concerned people in the queer community here and elsewhere (like Benny himself) at the time. People were rightly worried that it was trading one political goal–radical sexual freedom–for another–the legal protections of marriage. A handful of those folks did get married as soon as it was legal for their own various reasons, but mostly, they weren’t part of the parade because marriage was never their goal.

    Benny isn’t adding or erasing anything. He’s accurately representing a tension that exists within a marginalized community he’s part of. He’s also accurately pointing out that those of us outside that community have no business throwing our weight behind the side of this struggle that makes us comfortable. This isn’t usually a controversial opinion. I struggle to understand why it is here.

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